Witnesses silent amid Portland gang violence

Witnesses silent amid Portland gang violence

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by Katherine Cook, KGW Staff

kgw.com

Posted on July 13, 2014 at 1:02 PM

Updated Monday, Jul 14 at 7:39 AM

PORTLAND -- In Northeast Portland, officers with the Portland Police Bureau’s Gang Enforcement Team raced from call to call Saturday.

“We want to stop the retaliation, stop that next gang shooting from happening,” said Officer Charlie Asheim.

As of Saturday, police had responded to 74 gang-related shootings since the start of the year. That was up from 52 at the same time in 2013.

Around 3:30 a.m. Saturday, police responded to the latest shooting at a home near Northeast 75th Avenue and Stanton Street.

“Somebody just fired shots into the house,” said Thomas Jones, who lives at the home. “There was a 14-year-old girl sleeping on the couch [during the shooting]. The bullet went through the window just a foot above where she was lying down.”

In response to the escalating gang violence, Portland Police initiated “Operation Cool Down.” Over the weekend, extra police patrolled hot-spots for gang activity. They also made an effort to contact community members to make their presence known.

Asheim said one of the biggest challenges they face is lack of cooperation from shooting victims and witnesses.

“If people don't say anything, than that same small percentage of shooters is going to continue putting people in danger,” said Asheim. “That means more funerals and more crime scenes.”

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